Support to disability-inclusive rural development in new project

Nenad Jancheski, 24, from the village of Janchishte in North Macedonia. Photo: Marcus Lundstedt

From Disability to FoodAbility is a unique project starting in North Macedonia aimed at fighting discrimination and intolerance towards disabled people and promotion of equitable and sustainable rural development.

We Effect’s partner organisation National Federation of Farmers (NFF) is implementing a new project in North Macedonia especially designed to empower people with disabilities and their families living in the rural areas. What is unique about this project, funded by Radiohjälpen, is that although in the past there have been projects in the country targeting disabled people, for the first time the focus is on the rural community.

“We at We Effect believe that it is crucial to ensure full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society. The potential of the persons with disabilities as contributors to society needs to be recognized. Therefore, with the project From Disability to FoodAbility we are trying to create conditions for people with disabilities and their families living in rural areas not only to be able to improve their livelihood, but also to stimulate their social and economic empowerment,” says Anneli Leina, Regional Director Europe.

This will be done by establishing kitchen gardens with a possibility of a year-round production for the family’s own needs and an opportunity to sell the surplus on the farm or to other social food businesses. Additionally, trainings for self-representation and advocacy will be provided so that the voice of the disabled people living in the rural areas can be heard in the local communities and on national level.

Special attention is payed to women with disabilities who are often subjected to double discrimination due to their gender and disability status and are more likely to live impoverished and isolated lives.

People with disabilities in North Macedonia are still largely invisible, living in isolation, poverty and facing discrimination, especially in the rural areas. And although there have been some positive changes in recent years, concrete actions are needed to improve their situation. From Disability to FoodAbility is a project aimed at elevating the living conditions of the disabled persons in the rural areas and contributing towards building a just and inclusive society in North Macedonia.



Written by

Ljiljana Mitevska